Commemorating the 70th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations with the United States, the Philippines is widely viewed as one of the most reliable partners of the world’s largest economy. With the change in leadership in both governments, the two countries face the challenge of recalibrating their relationship.
Among the best performing economies in Asia, the Philippines provides immense investment opportunities for American companies, as well as those from elsewhere in the world. With its stable macroeconomic structure and highly skilled workforce, the country holds itself up as a favorable investment location.
Due for publishing in the March/April 2017 issue of Foreign Affairs, the Special Business Report on the Philippines will highlight success stories, profile top executives and identify business development opportunities in the country’s most dynamic industries.
As the fastest growing economy in Asia, the Philippines continues to remain in the crosshairs of major investors at home and from abroad. Companies from various industries are excited by the opportunities created by a government that vows to carry out political reforms, eradicate corruption and open up some sectors of the economy.
In the renewable energy sector, Energy Logics Philippines Inc. has grown continuously since its incorporation more than 10 years ago. Ready to take on bigger projects, the company is very open to welcoming foreign partners. President and CEO Marco Delgado is happy to see the economy’s growth prospects and the efforts of the current government to attract more foreign capital.
“Small company; big dream. We’re exactly at a stage wherein we need foreign investors. And I need the Philippines to be attractive to foreign capital and industrial partners and for them to come in and say: The Philippines is a safe investment and I want to be here,” Delgado says.
Meanwhile, architectural firm Palafox Associates is looking forward to the ambitious infrastructure program promised by the government, particularly its plans to increase connectivity between the country’s main islands and to decentralize development from Manila. As a renowned architect, philanthropist and environmentalist, Jun Palafox, founder of the firm, is excited to see this vision become reality.
This sizeable budget allocated for infrastructure means more investment opportunities. And investors are eager to see which projects will be unveiled by the government.
“Our country is open for business. Interested foreign investors are looking for Filipinos they can trust. Now, there is better governance. This government is mapping out a culture of integrity with a ‘can-do’ attitude and zero tolerance for corruption and incompetence,” Palafox said.
For First Metro Investment Corporation, the country’s’ strong economic fundamentals and plans to boost infrastructure spending are bode well for growth and development. Foreign investors still see the Philippines as a location with huge potential and large yield.
“What has become very obvious is that investors continue to be confident in the Philippines. The The GDP numbers have shown that investments have grown and despite the Duterte rhetoric, we see that fundamentals are very strong. And you can’t ignore it,” said First Metro Investment Corporation President and CEO Bong Arjonillo.
Amid the opportunities, First Metro wants to be a bridge between the Philippines and the international community, be a catalyst for further growth by tapping investors, and forge alliances to build a more robust trading environment.
“We’re the undiscovered crown jewel in ASEAN. Our president has nailed it by looking at the peace and order situation because no foreigner would come to the country and invest if he doesn’t feel safe and he can’t manage his investments there,” Arjonillo said.
On top of infrastructure spending, another huge economic program of the president is the reduction of poverty through the generation of more jobs. International multilateral agencies like the ADB, IMF and World Bank have increased their economic growth for the Philippines to 7.5%.
Given the robust forecast, Philippine Stock Exchange President Hans Sicat wats to transform the PSE into a world-class bourse, not in size, but more in its practices, products and services and its competence.
“We want to focus on upgrading our technology, provide a full product suite similar to other international large exchanges and improve our human resources. I hope that this results in a larger market in terms of market capitalization and in more listings,” Sicat said.